Spider: A Fun Serving Game For Young Volleyball Players

This serving game is a great way to spend 15 minutes laughing, cheering, and bonding with your team. Use this game with your young players to keep them engaged at practice, or play it with an older group as a reward for hard work.

Whether you’re using this as a drill for volleyball camp or during team practice, you’re sure to share a ton of laughs with your athletes.

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Defense Without A Middle Blocker

No matter what age you coach, you’ve probably seen it happen. Maybe it was in the middle of a long rally, or happened on the first attack. It could have been due to a deceptive jump set, or just a misread of your opponents attack.

What am I talking about?

When the middle goes up to block with the setter/middle, and the set goes somewhere else.

In other words… your defense becomes a lot less effective.

Run this drill to practice your team’s reaction to this common mistake.

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Teach “The Turn” - Getting Your Setter To Square Up To Their Hitters

It’s currently the beginning of the school season, which means one thing is certain: We’ve all got a LOT of work to do.

Players will always be growing and developing, and even us coaches aren’t as perfect as we’d like to believe. But there’s something I’ve seen a lot of this particular season and I want to help you see it and overcome this lazy play with your own teams.

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What Is A "5-1" In Volleyball?

The phrases for offensive systems used in volleyball aren’t exactly beginner friendly. If you’re here because you’ve been wondering, “what the heck is a “5-1” and what does that even mean…?” you’re in the right place!

While volleyball terms can be tough to grasp for new coaches, some of the most difficult to handle are when someone asks you if you’re going to run a “5-1”, a “6-2”, or a “4-2”. Once you understand the basics of what these numbers mean, you’ll feel confident in talking shop with other coaches in your program.

One of the most popular systems is a 5-1. This system, along with a 6-2, are the most commonly used systems in intermediate to advanced middle school teams, most high school teams, and most club programs.

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What Is A "6-2" In Volleyball?

If you’re a new coach, you’ve probably heard the terms “6-2”, “5-1”, “6-3”, etc… And if you’re like most new coaches (and most new volleyball players), you probably thought to yourself, “ummmm…. what??”

These are all terms for offensive systems, which sounds intimidating at first but is rather simple… AFTER you understand what the terms mean.

Today I’m going to break down a 6-2 offensive system for you, which is basically a fancy way of saying what your players do when they’re standing in different spots on the court.

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Passing With A Focus: Facing The Hitter

Coaches of young or new volleyball players might benefit from review this passing concept with their team: Face the hitter, angle your platform to target.

Too often this is something that we as coaches tend to overlook. Between getting them to not bend their elbows when they pass, making sure they’re standing in the right place, or sometimes even just paying attention at practice, it can be easy to forget about small things.

In this case, it’s a small thing that makes a HUGE difference.

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Teach Defense To Your Team

Think back to the first time you were learning a new position. One of the most challenging aspects of learning this new position was probably where to go for defense. Not only do you need to know WHERE to go, you need to learn WHEN to go and how much area you cover!

Players can easily get overwhelmed in this stage of their development, but it doesn’t need to be frustrating! By using this quick and easy drill, I’ve taught players as young as 6th grade how to transition into defense.

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Volleyball Camp Warm-Up Game: Sharks and Minnows

Ahhh, the classic “Sharks and Minnows” game.

If you went to volleyball camps as a child, you probably played this game at least once.

But the hard thing about playing games as a kid, is that you don’t always remember them as an adult!

Let me give you a quick refresher on this classic warm-up game as you start to prepare for summer volleyball camps.

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Being Coached As An Adult: What I Learned From The Other Side

After coaching for so many years, I’ve found my “style.”

I would describe it as supportive, patient, joking, laid back, cooperative, and open-minded.

Those are all positives, in my mind. 

Of course we always want to believe that we’re the epitome of what a “good” coach should be, and it can be hard to assess flaws in our style.

As coaches, we’re used to getting our way. We run the show!

But what about when you become the instructee?

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Why I Recommend Beach Volleyball For Faster Skill Development

Summer is almost here, and this is ALWAYS the time of year when I am asked what players should do to prepare for school volleyball tryouts.

There are plenty of options out there….

  • Summer camps

  • Private lessons

  • Skill clinics

  • Open gyms

While all of these will likely improve a player’s skill level, physical fitness, coordination, and mental understanding of the game, there’s one big opportunity that many families tend to overlook: beach volleyball.

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Teaching “Vision” Using Rock, Paper, Scissors

It’s easy to tell your players to look on the other side of the net… However, if they don’t learn WHEN to look, or if they don’t PRACTICE looking, they’ll likely struggle in this process, and likely give up because they just don’t get it.

The beauty of this drill is that you only need to run it once to teach the concept. So although it may go slow while they’re learning, it is very important to use 15 minutes of practice to run this drill.

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What Volleyball Players Wish They Could Say To Their Coaches (And Parents!)

Recently, I posted a question on the Instagram Story for my account for volleyball coaches, @getthepancake. I asked: 

“Players: What’s something you wish your coaches or parents knew?”

The range of answers highlights just how unique our athletes are, and I think the players provide some great insight. 

When reading this article, please keep in mind the following: “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true.”

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Easy Drill To Teach Your Passers To Read The Hitter

According to Coach Karch Kiraly, (U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Head Coach) the most important skill in volleyball is to learn to read the ball.

This is one of those answers which is simple in theory, but very, very challenging in practice. You can’t just TELL players to read the ball. Heck, half of them probably wouldn’t even know what you meant (and of course, they’d just nod their head and go with it until you called them out).

In order to play volleyball well, you need to anticipate where the ball will go. This has recently become a point of pride for coaches who yell at their teams for diving (they wouldn’t need to dive if they read the ball correctly). Which… they’re not wrong! But we need to make sure we teach players to read and anticipate before we expect them to eliminate any dives or rolls.

This drill teaches players how to read the hitter through simple, repetitive plays that draw attention to movement patterns, helping players learn faster.

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Coaching Anxious Players: 5 Steps to Confident ATHLETES

The hesitation. The apprehension. The questions. The tears.

These are all fairly NEW to me as a coach, despite beginning my coaching career over a decade ago.

Nearly all players can handle being told how to correct their form without bursting into tears and making you feel like a horrible person.

But there’s a shift happening. I’m not entirely sure of the reason WHY (though I have some guesses), but once I started making adjustments to my coaching style, I was able to see players settle into the comfort of learning and actually contribute to their team.

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Volleyball Coaching Book Review: The Volleyball Coaching Bible

I couldn’t WAIT to start coaching volleyball when I was in school. I had helped with camps throughout high school and wanted nothing more than to just finish school so I could coach. I guess I’m obsessed.

But once I finally GOT a coaching job, a wave of incompetence seemed to rush over me.

I literally had no idea what to do. Now, as many of you know, this specific feeling is precisely what led to me writing Coaching Volleyball: A Survival Guide For Your First Season.

And while I obviously recommend my book for new coaches looking for actionable tasks and guidance in their first season as a volleyball coach, I wanted to share my thoughts on the first book I bought when I was looking for how to get started coaching a decade ago.

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Front Row Progressions: Train Transitioning, Hitting, Blocking, and Setting in 20 Minutes

OK, I’m making BIG claims for this drill, but I’m ready to back those claims up!

See, I’m really big on PROGRESSIONS. Progressions start simple, add small pieces of information, and ultimately lead to BIG gains.

The best part about this drill I’m about to share with you is that it will work for ANY age group (even the littles who can’t get their fingers above the net) and your players will LOVE it.

This is also a great volleyball camp drill, for those reasons and more.

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What to Expect During an Interview to Coach Volleyball

Coaching volleyball is an amazing experience that many players look forward to having once they leave school. Whether you played high school volleyball, college volleyball, or maybe you only played in PE, you CAN get a job coaching volleyball if you prepare well enough.

There are many challenges that come with being a coach if you are not prepared to do your homework. Even experienced players will need to stay up-to-date on the latest teaching strategies in order to impress directors and get the job.

This article includes tips on how to prepare for an interview to coach volleyball and lists possible questions you’ll be asked during that interview.

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Volleyball Drill Classics: The Butterfly Drill

In today’s drill, I’m going to share the first “Butterfly Drill” I learned as a player, and explain how you can change it using variations (my favorite thing to do).

The butterfly drill is named after the shape of the action. That one took me a long time to figure out, but it is now glaringly obvious.

Essentially, butterfly drills are meant to keep the action rolling, with player-initiated contacts, constant movement, high energy, and LOTS of running (so fyi, this is a great conditioning drill that still incorporates a lot of volleyball).

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Keeping and Understanding Volleyball Stats: The 5 (ish) Basics

Volleyball stats offer a (mostly) objective look at player and team performance, and can be vital to helping determine appropriate areas of focus for future training, determining optimal rotations, and providing a broad look at team performance overall.

Looking at individual stats can help players understand their strengths and weaknesses, analyze match performance, and in some instances, even help them get recruited.

Although stats SEEM intimidating… they don’t have to be! Coaches and parents new to volleyball should not be intimidated by the overwhelming spreadsheets, computations, and volleyball jargon common when discussing volleyball stats.

I’m going to break down some of the more basic statistics for you, so you can feel more confident coaching volleyball, watching volleyball, and talking volleyball.

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